Last Updated on August 9, 2022
Did you know you can earn both a master’s degree and a licensed professional psychology (PsyD) degree from the renowned College of Professional Psychology at Wright State? We’ve partnered with other universities to offer combined degree programs online that lead to a master’s degree in psychology and the licensure/certification required to become a psychologist after graduation. These programs are specifically designed with the busy adult in mind, allowing you to complete your graduate education while meeting most prerequisites for professional licensure. Want to know more about the Combined Masters And PSYD Programs Online, dual masters and psyd programs in psychology, mapsyd programs, psyd programs without masters & psydjd joint programs.
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dual masters and pSYD programs in psychology
The most effective way to develop your career prospects and gain future opportunities is still to earn a college degree. An undergraduate degree is a valuable step towards your future. To fit any student’s ambitions, a number of different types of programs are available. The size of their ambition will also depend on how many of these degree levels a person wants to complete.
Your master’s studies can be devoted to psychology as well, or they can be in a complementary field, such as business or education. Either way, a joint degree program could be an important step toward psychology licensure and a career in this rewarding field.
What is a Combined Masters and Psy.D. Program?
Some students may wish to consider combined masters and PsyD programs in psychology. These programs aim to enable students to work towards licensure and professional practice by combining the work needed into a single program rather than separate master’s degree programs and PhD programs.
These are combination programs. That means they merge two degrees into one continuous education plan. This may enable students to complete their education sooner. These programs may use double counting of credit hours in some courses. This often allows the credits to apply to both degree paths. Students may avoid learning the same material in two degrees in this strategy.
A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD and Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) are often the two primary doctoral programs students may need to complete to work as a clinical psychologist. The American Psychological Association (APA) is the overseeing body for these programs. It states a PsyD program enables students to engage in careers that require scientific knowledge of psychology and enable teaching a broad group of people. Most PsyD programs require students to perform some level of research. This often is with a focus on human behavior. Many students may complete a thesis or dissertation as a component of this educational path.
Both a PsyD and a PhD aim to prepare students to work in this area of healthcare. This may include working as a licensed psychologist. Both courses of education aim to prepare students to take state licensing exams. Keep in mind, each state may have specific requirements to take these tests. These tests aim to ensure a student has the basic level of competency necessary to meet the needs of clients.
If you want to earn a Psy.D., you are interested in clinical work. It is very important that this program is fully accredited by a body such as the American Psychological Association (APA). As you embark upon your educational journey, you probably have ideas about the type of job you want, the depth of knowledge in which you’re interested, and the level of education you’re seeking, and may wonder whether you can get a Master’s degree and a PhD at the same time. The answer depends on your field, and upon the schools to which you apply. Peterson’s outlines the pros and cons of each degree, noting, among many things, that pursuing one program means dealing with only one application process, and that “direct-to-doc” options are good for people who know that they want to research a subject in depth.
Dual masters and PhD programs allow you to seamlessly earn a master’s degree then a PhD. Referred to as dual degrees, joint degrees, or master’s and PhD combined degrees, grad schools with these practical programs provide a formal plan of study for completing two degrees at the same time. Psy. D. programs take between four and six years to complete on average. In most cases, it takes around one to five years more to finish a Ph.
Combined Masters And PSYD Programs Online
A dual degree program is typically structured to double-count some of students’ earned course credits to the completion of both degrees – masters and PhD. While the policies that govern these programs vary, essentially, dual masters and doctorate degree programs allow participants to:
- Meld two different interests and study immersion-style
- Customize their course plan
- Bulk up a resume with extra skills and knowledge
- Research at the highest academic level
- Course share instead of completing the same material twice
A dual degree in clinical psychology allows students to earn both a master’s degree and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in a shorter period of time than taking them individually. They often includes several courses in psychology, neuroscience, and statistics, as well as require students to complete original research that leads to a master’s thesis and a dissertation. Students may have the option of choosing a focus in clinical geropsychology, clinical neuropsychology, public health, or another related field.
Most often, all graduate programs like this must have a clear path of study. The school may need to approve the student’s plans to move through the curriculum to achieve the desired combined master’s and PsyD degree.
Many schools may have a PsyD advisory board. This group may provide insight and governance over completing these degree programs. Students may be able to work through these boards to help them create their own educational path of interest within the school’s program.
Is a Dual Degree Program the Same as a Combined Masters and PsyD Programs?
A dual degree program is sometimes called a double degree. In this path, a student studies two areas at the same time. This often allows the student to receive two separate degrees. Often, these degree programs are very different. A combined masters and PsyD program is a bit different or more focused.
A student may obtain a dual degree at any level. That includes the bachelor’s degree. In this case, the student earns two bachelor degrees at the same time. A combined master and PsyD is a very specific program. It tends to combine the program coursework for both a master’s degree program and a doctoral program. It often focuses just on psychology. This psychology program may have various electives and a range of coursework.
However, they may be the same concept of combining two programs to achieve a specific goal. They may speed up the process of obtaining a degree in a specific field.
combined mS and pSYD programs
Many people who wish become a psychologist may need to complete a doctoral degree. Then, it may be necessary to pass licensure exams in the state. For those who want to fast track, getting a master’s and PsyD program at the same time may sound like an option.
Traditionally, students could complete a bachelor’s degree in psychology as a first step. That takes about 4 years to complete. Then, they may complete a master’s degree in psychology. This step may take an additional 2 to 3 years. After a master’s degree comes a doctoral degree, traditionally. That could take another 4 or more years. That is a long time before getting started in a career. A PsyD program combining a masters and doctoral program may prove a faster option.
Many times, this type of program may require students to spend time in various classes over a period of several years. It may also include clinical experience in some cases. Some programs may include an internship as well. Students may expect to complete a dissertation and support for necessary state licensing.
For those who wish to work in clinical settings where advanced certification is necessary, a masters and PsyD program may help a student achieve that goal.
It may also be important to note that graduate schools may allow for several paths of study. For example, students may be able to enroll in dual degree programs. This may allow a student to earn two degrees at the graduate level. That may include a master’s and a doctoral program, as noted here. It may also allow a student to earn two master’s programs. This may allow a student to gain more education in two diverse areas that interest them. It could also be possible to earn two doctoral degree programs at one time. These types of programs may be more complex. They may also be harder to find because they are much more difficult for some students to complete.
In all of these program options, the student and school must create a plan for achieving the desired outcome. Both programs generally must constitute a meaningful part of each program. For example, some schools require students to complete 60 percent of the total credit hours for each program if it was a standalone program. Some courses may be double counted, though.
Some dual masters and PsyD programs are designed to give you a graduate-level foundation in psychology before you dive into doctoral studies. Other programs provide master’s training in a different field to prepare you for a career in a particular niche.
- MBA / PsyD. Earning both a Master of Business Administration and a Doctor of Psychology could help prepare you for work in the field of industrial organizational psychology. You might take classes that cover project management, finance and accounting, and human development. An I-O psychologist can help organizations maximize their productivity and go through times of transition.
- MEd / PsyD. With a Master of Education and a Doctor of Psychology, you may be prepared for professional partnerships with teachers or community educators. Your knowledge of human learning processes can also help you equip your psychology clients with actionable plans for adjusting their thoughts and behaviors. Course topics might include adolescent psychopathology and educational methods.
- MCJ / PsyD. If you’re interested in working in the criminal justice system, then you may want to consider earning a Master of Criminal Justice and a Doctor of Psychology. Your studies will typically cover topics like criminology, delinquency studies, and behavior therapy. Graduates tend to pursue forensic psychology or police psychology. They may also seek work in a correctional facility.
- MA in Psychology / PsyD. For a career in clinical or counseling psychology, you might find it beneficial to get both a master’s degree and a doctoral degree in that field. The course topics for this combined program can include counseling theories, psychological assessments, and human lifespan development. You may also take pre-clinical courses and complete an internship.
- PsyD / MPH. If your career goal involves providing mental health services to underserved populations, then earning both a Master of Public Health and a Doctor of Psychology could provide valuable insights. Environmental health, family therapy, and equity in healthcare access are topics you’ll likely cover. After graduation, you might work in a community outreach agency or a hospital system.
Other combined master’s and PsyD programs are available as well. You may want to compare various options to find the combination that could provide the best career preparation for you.
How to Apply to Combined Masters and PsyD programs
The first step may be to choose a doctoral program at a school that offers a combined masters and PsyD educational plan. Not all schools do. Ensure they hold proper accreditation to meet your state’s requirements for licensing. The American Phycological Association’s Commission on Accreditation provides accreditation to many programs. This includes PhD and Psy.D programs. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) is another body. The Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS) is yet another body.
Students may need to have a bachelor’s degree completed to work towards their master’s and PhD programs. The school may wish to see specific information about the degree to ensure it fits with the prerequisites.
Most often, schools may establish specific guidelines for applying for a dual admission program. These vary from one school to the next. Some common requirements may include:
- Grade point average in previous education
- Completion of a bachelor’s degree in an associated field
- GRE testing (not all programs require this)
- ACT and SAT scores may be used by some schools
- Letters of recommendation
- Background check may be a requirement for application
Be sure to provide all insight into your qualifications. This may include any work experience obtained or research programs you’ve completed. Volunteer work and paid positions should be noted. Any work done in private practices or nonprofits should be disclosed on an application. Some grad programs like this xould be competitive. That may make all of these extra skills and experiences vital to getting into the program.
Students may also need to choose a field of study early on. Grad programs may be specific to a desired outcome. This may include, for example, developmental psychology, social psychology, forensic psychology, or other areas of mental health.
Eligibility requirements often differ from one program to the next. Students may need to meet overall graduate study requirements. Some graduate students may need to apply with a very specific educational background depending on the grad program itself. All schools make it clear what students need to apply.
Schools with Dual Masters and PhD Programs
Explore this list of a dozen partner grad schools with dual masters and doctoral programs.
- Boston University
- University of Southern California
- Fairleigh Dickinson University
- American University
- Nova Southeastern University
- George Mason University
- Widener University
- New York University
- Pennsylvania State University
- Loyola University of Chicago
- Boston College
Below are what we believe to be the five top accredited online Psy.D. programs for you to choose from:
Alaska Pacific University
Alaska Pacific University’s Psy.D. program, designed for mid-career professionals, features synchronous online learning with on-campus, three-day weekend intensives. This program follows a scholar-practitioner model of training that allows students to learn about current, evidence-based practices and how they apply to clinical settings.
- Campus: Anchorage, Alaska
- Type: Private, nonprofit
- Accreditation: NWCCU
- Tuition: $840 per credit hour
- Minimum time commitment: 93 credits, five years
- Degree requirements: All applicants are required to have taken specific master’s level psychology courses at the time of admission, along with clinically relevant training and/or work experience. The eligibility of an applicant’s master’s level courses is determined by faculty. Additional requirements include a personal statement and essay, letters of recommendation, and copies of professional licensure currently held.
- Program: Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
- Request Information Direct: Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
California Southern University
The Psy.D. program at California Southern University is one of their most popular degrees. This is also due to the fact that it can be completed at one’s personal pace, ranging from two to ten years. All faculty staff members are leading professionals in the field of psychology.
- Campus: Irvine, California
- Type: Private
- Accreditation: Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
- Tuition: $395 per credit
- Minimum time commitment: 66 credits
- Degree requirements: Bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, GPA of 3.0, transcripts
- Programs: Doctor of Psychology
- Request Information Direct: California Southern University
William James College
This degree program is delivered fully online. To graduate, students have to take part in a residency of four days. This is held in Boston, Massachusetts. The area of leadership psychology is expected to grow by 26% between 2010 and 2020, which makes it a very interesting career choice.
- Campus: Boston, Massachusetts
- Type: Private
- Accreditation: APA
- Tuition: $1,248 per credit
- Minimum time commitment: Four years
- Degree requirements: GRE, prerequisite courses,
- Programs: Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Leadership Psychology
- Request Information Direct: Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
The Psy.D. program at Saybrook University combines online learning with residency practice. The school takes a humanistic approach, which means students learn to gain a greater understanding of what it means to be human. Graduates are in high demand and find employment in a range of different employment settings.
- Campus: Oakland, California
- Type: Private, not for profit
- Accreditation: WASC, HECB
- Tuition: $23,240 per year
- Minimum time commitment: 105 credits
- Degree requirements: Transcripts, GPA of 3.0, bachelor’s or master’s degree, personal statement, personal interview, one contact for recommendation, professional experience, academic history, compatible interests, critical thinking, writing skills, personal motivation
- Programs: Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
- Request Information Direct: Saybrook University
Application to Joint Masters/PhD programs
Applicants for dual masters and doctorate degree programs may need to apply separately for admission to both the schools within their university, indicating their intent to pursue a dual degree.
As a result, you should talk to admissions counselors and program directors during the application process to make sure you have all required materials for starting graduate study.
best pSYD programs
Depending on the institution, it may be possible to earn a highly focused or specialized Psy.D. degree. Let’s explore how the five most common types differ when it comes to the types of courses and eventual career.
- Clinical: These Psy.D. programs are by far the most common, and many schools that offer Psy.D. degrees only offer them in clinical psychology. While that makes these versatile degrees, enabling students to pursue licensure in psychology and seek a wide range of jobs, it also means that students may need to craft a specialty themselves with the electives they choose.
- School: Psy.D. degrees in school psychology are the second most commonly offered type of Psy.D. degree, with a programmatic focus on young people and education. In some cases, graduates will seek further education to become school counselors or psychologists, while others may choose to work with young people in mental health crises.
- Counseling: The third most commonly offered Psy.D. focuses on counseling, which is a degree that prepares individuals to conduct assessments and provide counseling services to all individuals, not only those with pathological or chronic behavioral health problems. Relevant coursework for these degrees can include classes like abusive relationships, group counseling and human sexuality.
- Forensic: Something of a specialty Psy.D., degrees in forensics are aimed at people who are interested in working within the legal or civil court system, including working with law enforcement, defense teams or as victim advocates. Coursework covers psychology but also touches upon courses dealing with law and courts.
- Correctional: Slightly related to a Psy.D. in forensic psychology, degrees in correctional psychology deal with criminal justice-related topics, but these degree programs tend to focus on those who have been accused or convicted of crimes and are housed in correctional settings like prisons or jails. In addition to general training in psychology, people pursuing a correctional Psy.D. would take coursework focusing on criminal justice, courts and the penal system.
For any degree-seeker at any level, attending a program that has been accredited by the major bodies in their field of study is crucial. After all, this signals to others, including potential new employers, that an applicant has graduated from a reputable, rigorous program that meets all the requirements set forth by the accrediting body. In other words, that a well-regarded institution vouches for the degree holder.
For Psy.D. degree programs, accreditation by the American Psychology Association (APA) is the gold standard, but this is not the only organization that offers accreditation to Psy.D. degree programs. Many very well known and successful psychologists have forgone an APA specific program and opted instead for the convenience of an Online program.
Other accreditation bodies to know include:
- National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
- Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS)
- Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE)
- Higher Learning Commission
What makes APA accreditation so sought-after? In a word: Selectivity. The organization accredits only a tiny percentage of the colleges and universities that apply, and those that do earn the endorsement are required to publish annually a series of data points related to how effective the program is at training psychologists. This includes things like total degrees granted, the typical number of years required to graduate, the percentage of students who get internships and, crucially, the percentage of graduates who earn professional licensure. For prospective students, these data points are critical in judging which programs are best among those they’re considering.
Best Psy.D Programs According to Professors
These are the highest-ranked Psy.D programs:
- Rutgers University
- PGSP/Stanford University Consortium
- Baylor University
- Loyola University Maryland
- Pepperdine University
- Long Island University
- Yeshiva University
- Xavier University
- University of Hartford
Best Psy.D. Programs According to PsyDPrograms.org
Our mission at PsyPrograms.org is to foster a social community for clinical psychologists around the world in which to educate, inform and share. As part of that mission, we set out to rank the best PsyD programs in the United States and share that information with you, our community.
To do this, we surveyed dozens of our members currently searching for a PsyD program on what they consider to be important decision-making factors. Based on the survey results, we focused on four key metrics to determine the best programs: affordability, completion time, degrees conferred, and internship placement.
To determine our rankings, we evaluated over 80 APA accredited Psy.D programs and assigned points based on each metric.
|Rank||University Name||State||Average Completion||Tuition Cost|
|1||George Washington University||DC||4||$44,800|
|2||Alliant International University–Los Angeles||CA||4||$48,200|
|3||Alliant International University–Fresno||CA||4||$38,560|
|4||Palo Alto University||CA||4.9||$50,451|
|5||The Wright Institute||CA||5||$37,650|
|6||Alliant International University–San Francisco Bay||CA||4.9||$40,970|
|7||University of Denver||CO||4.9||$65,856|
|8||Alliant International University–Sacramento||CA||4.6||$36,150|
|9||The Chicago School of Professional Psychology–Chicago||IL||5||$53,613|
|10||Nova Southeastern University||FL||5||$45,390|
|12||Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine||PA||5||$37,913|
|15||Adler University – Chicago||IL||5||$49,980|
|20||Azusa Pacific University||CA||5||$42,510|
|21||The Chicago School of Professional Psychology–Irvine||CA||5||$52,220|
|22||University of St. Thomas||MN||4||$26,200|
Is a Master’s/Ph.D. in Psychology Dual Degree Worth It?
Students seeking a dual master’s/Ph.D in Psychology have a variety of options to consider, for instance they may earn a Master of Public Policy/Ph.D. in Psychology or a Master of Public Health/Ph.D. in Psychology – however, those interested in a clinical program could consider a Master of Science in Psychology/Doctor of Psychology program instead of a Ph.D.
The requirements to earn a dual master’s/Ph.D in Psychology can vary by school, but they usually require the completion of about 51 credits. The two degrees can be earned in three to five years, and students must complete a dissertation, qualifying exams, and graduate-level courses. A MS/Psy.D. program usually requires about 120 credits and clinical placements. Some common courses found in these dual programs include:
Research Methods in Psychology
The experimental designs that are used to study behavior are presented in a research methods class. Students may be able to form research questions and hypotheses. Additional topics that could be covered include internal and external validity, measurement processes, and sampling.
Research Design in Developmental Psychology
The methods used to study developmental psychology are presented in this class. This course could focus on the changes that occur as a person ages over time. Also, the experiments are designed to observe generational abnormalities in behavior.
A psychophysiology course covers the relationship between psychological states and physiological responses as well as the main psychological states: cognition, emotion, and learning. In addition, the course could cover hidden muscle actions and autonomic responses as well as the physiological measures that are used to study mental processes.
Advanced Human Development
The development of humans within a contextual environment is the focus of this advanced human development. Additional areas of focus could include the influences of neighborhoods, schools, and socioeconomic status on development. Several systems theories of development are often presented to the class.
Social and Emotional Development in Children
In this course, graduate students could study the theories of social relationship development in children, including moral development, temperament, and individualization. Influencers of development, such as parents, peers, and the local or global culture, are also analyzed.
Psychology is the branch of medical science that analyses, diagnoses and treats how people think and behave. Though psychologists can work in a range of areas concerning psychology: research, in practice and treatment, public policy and in unrelated fields (advertising often employs psychologists), it is largely with the medical treatment of so-called “invisible illnesses” that we assume graduates will work.
A clinical psychologist is a sub-discipline of psychology that works directly with patients with mental illness – this can be as varied as eating disorders, depression and anxiety, psychosis, bi-polar disorder, addiction, postnatal (postpartum) depression and children with behavioral difficulties amongst other things. People with psychology degrees who work as a clinician may have a range of roles from working as a one-to-one therapist, in hospitals as part of a mental health team, in a specialist center dedicated to the treatment of the mentally ill, in addiction centers and a range of other places. They can also work in the research sector – in the application and study of new treatment methods such as CBT and other non-intrusive forms that work in place of or alongside medication.
Clinical psychology is a career path for people who wish to work with patients, in diagnosis and treatment and in researching effectiveness of treatments (depending on which clinical path you wish to take). It is a growing subject as the stigma around mental health is broken and governments, businesses and other organizations realize the importance of treatment of mental illness. In spring 2014, a survey revealed over 100,000 professionals presently working in clinical psychology in the USA; this number is growing every year.
Difference between MA or MS in Clinical Psychology
Any Master’s Degree is a degree program studied at postgraduate level – that is, a course to which you may apply once you already have your bachelor’s degree. Graduates in psychology who which to pursue a postgraduate program have a critical decision to make, and that is whether to study a Master of Arts degree (MA) or Master of Science Degree (MS). Which master’s you choose, and how you choose, is a matter of your preferred interests following up from your bachelor’s degree, your area of study and expected career path.
MA students of clinical psychology will typically follow a career in psychology as a practice. This is more of a hands-off approach, focusing on desk-based research and evaluating the effectiveness of treatments. They may be involved with government policy on mental illness, advising businesses or non-profits on a range of issues concerning health of employees and support services. They spend more time reading papers after study than an MS graduate would expect to read.
MS Students will follow a career in clinical psychology science. If you want to become a therapist, then you should study a clinical psychology MS as it concerns the application of scientific research. Working with the mentally ill, for example in addiction treatment, psychosexual analysis, art therapy, school counselling, career counselling, relationship counselling (marriage guidance) and so on;this is the path you should take if you wish to work directly with people.
pSYD programs without masters
Completing a doctoral degree in psychology can be a crucial educational step toward a challenging but rewarding career in the field, whether working with patients or contributing to the field in other ways.
With multiple possible degree paths that end in similar outcomes, it can be difficult for students to understand the best route to take, depending on the education they already have. Specifically, for students who have only a bachelor’s degree, many worry their options for a psychology Ph.D. or a Psy.D. may be limited.
So let’s explore what students need to know about getting a psychology Ph.D. or Psy.D. without having a master’s degree.
Psychology Doctorate Options
At the end of both a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Psychology and a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.), an individual will have earned a doctorate and, depending on their personal preferences and professional goals, could use the “Dr.” title. But the details of the degrees are quite different, and which is right likely will depend on the individual and their career dreams.
In general, Psy.D. degrees are more appropriate for those who want to work directly with patients or clients, while Ph.D. degrees may appeal more to those who want to work in academic research to help advance understanding of human behavior.
Of course, that’s a guideline rather than a rule, and students who earn either type of degree can work in many different areas of psychology, or may earn enough experience and education to overlap a few areas of the field.
Importantly, though, it’s more common for Psy.D. tracks than Ph.D. tracks to include supervised professional experience as part of the doctoral program, which may impact a graduate’s ability to earn professional licensure (more on that later).
Regardless of what comes next, prospective psychology doctoral students will need to earn a bachelor’s degree. Ideally, they’d major in psychology in college, though there are a handful of other subjects that could suffice, depending on their doctoral program.
- Social work
Many doctoral programs will accept applicants who have only a bachelor’s degree, but there are several considerations that may impact whether doctoral candidates can apply with only an undergrad degree:
- Length of doctoral program: Shorter Ph.D. or Psy.D. programs, meaning those that are designed to be completed in only a few years, will usually require students to complete a master’s degree before they apply. For example, an optional completion timeline offered in the Psy.D. program at the University of Indianapolis accepts only those applicants who have already completed a master’s degree in the field, and the admissions office prefers those who already have some practical experience under their belts. UIndy’s 3+1 track can be completed in only four years, while most psychology doctorates will take at least five and sometimes closer to seven years.
- Master’s en route: In most longer-timeline programs, students will earn a master’s degree on their way to getting their doctorate. For example, the Tufts University Ph.D. in Psychology will last at least five years, and students will complete a master’s degree at the end of their second year in the program.
- Prior coursework: In many psychology doctoral programs, students aren’t required to have majored in psychology at any level but rather it’s necessary for them to have completed certain coursework integral to the study of psychology. At the Rutgers Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, Clinical Psy.D. applicants are required to have completed undergrad courses in introductory psychology, statistics, abnormal psychology and biological bases of psychology, in addition to at least one course in cognitive, developmental and/or social psychology, psychology and perception, conditioning and learning, and psychology of personality.
In every state, a series of rules and guidelines apply to the licensure of psychologists. States vary quite dramatically in what they require, but a psychology doctorate is generally the most important educational step.
However, professional experience is also required in every state, usually both before and after earning a doctorate. That means that students who attend Psy.D. or Ph.D. programs that don’t include a supervised professional experience period, such as an internship or other professional practicum, may not satisfy the licensure requirements in their state.
Additionally, many states require students who attend programs that are not accredited by the American Psychology Association to provide a detailed list of all coursework at the doctoral level, and students may have to take remedial graduate courses if their programs don’t meet the standards.
Earning your doctoral degree in psychology, whether by completing a Ph.D. or a Psy.D., is the single best way to earn licensure and become a professional psychologist. While there’s no single possible way of getting there, students who don’t have a master’s degree, and have no need to earn one, likely will find many options for doctorate programs.
Difference between PsyD vs PhD in Clinical Psychology
As with the master’s degree options, there are several academic career paths you may wish to pursue if you want to take your studies even beyond that. Doctoral studies in this area come in two choices and once again, which you should choose all depends on the nature of your intended career path.
PsyD programs are a newer addition to the academic world of psychology. Created in the 1970s, the discipline was added after identifying that there was increasingly becoming a wide difference between psychology as a study and psychology as a practice. From its introduction, PsyD programs filled the growing need for psychology in practice,particularly in therapy. Researching treatments, either desk-based or direct patient analysis, became the scope of the PhD whereas treatment (therapy) became the scope of the PsyD graduate.
PhD programs were once the only option for students of any type of psychology, but today they have become a purely academic discipline. Students who wish to study patients as a career rather than treat them or develop new treatments such as CBT for use by therapists, should study a PhD program. It is now the academic path of psychology, working in universities or other pathways concerning the academic route. Such doctorates will rarely, if ever, lead to direct interaction with patients but with fellow researchers and students. If you want to teach, then the PhD should be your pathway.
Dual Degree vs Double Major
Combined masters and PhD programs are not to be confused with double majors or two degrees at the same academic level. A conjoined Masters/PhD program blends two postgraduate programs in areas such as:
- Business administration
- Political Science
The curriculum usually draws from the syllabus of both programs, though the course load is a bit heavier. This may stretch out time to completion, but still usually takes less time than earning the degrees separately.
For example, American University offers a MA / PhD in Psychology courses are an in-depth analysis in concentrations such as Behavior, Cognition, and Neuroscience and Clinical Psychology.
Combined Master’s and PhD Programs
Some grad schools with dual masters and doctorate degree programs may have a separate page devoted to dual degree and joint degree programs.
Below are some common programs to consider, including dual masters and PhD programs online. Remember, though you may not see the particular dual degree you’re looking for, this list of schools is open to combined master’s / PhD degrees. Therefore, contact admissions to see if the one you want to pursue is a possibility.
PhD / MBA Dual Degrees
There are multiple MBA / PhD joint programs to consider that enable graduate degree students to hone their grasp of the day to day management issues that today’s professional face along with functional skills in another area. In many of these programs, the MBA coursework usually comes first.
1). Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) / Executive MBA
Students at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and Carey Business School could study patient care and safety as they deepen their grasp of corporate leadership in a DNP / Executive MBA. The first step is learning more about the Global MBA and adding a DNP.
During this program, courses strive to teach problem solving skills as students refine their ability to lead health care teams through a blended course plan. This melds the core of an MBA (operations, marketing, finance) with the essentials of a DNP, such as population health and translational evidence.
Joint Masters & PhD Program(s) at JHU:
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) / Executive MBA
#2: Juris Doctor (JD) / Master of Business Administration (MBA)
The dual-degree program in business and law is planned out so that students might complete both degrees with six fewer courses than would be required if the degrees were pursued separately. Students who complete the dual degree earn an MBA with a focus in business law as well as the JD degree.
Meld interests in business with the background needed to function in the legal sectors through a joint JD/MBA program at George Mason University.
#3: MBA / Doctor of Medicine (MD)
During these programs, tomorrow’s doctors analyze how to more efficiently run independent practices or pursue leadership roles in hospitals by developing savvy boardroom skills.
The joint MBA / MD program at Boston University is designed for students who are interested in both clinical medicine and the business side of healthcare. This program usually takes students five years to complete and covers topics in both profit and non-profit settings.
#4: MBA / Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)
While pursuing an MBA/PharmD degree, the curriculum blends business courses with a health care-infused syllabus and advanced pharmacy practice. For example, Nova Southeastern University offers a joint MBA / PharmD degree where you might complete a final project that could satisfy two of nine required advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs).
In addition, Nova Southeastern offers a variety of MBA programs depending on your goals and schedule:
- One-Year MBA
- Weekend MBA
- MBA for Working Professionals (offers four start dates throughout the year)
#5: MBA / Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) – Dual Masters and PhD Programs in Psychology
Combined masters-PhD programs in psychology sometimes admit students to the MBA program during their second yea, as this is one of the programs where the MBA course come after initial courses in the PsyD program.
One example is the MBA / PsyD joint degree at Widener University, which is designed for students pursuing I/O psychology, consulting psychology, or organizational psychology. In this program, the core curriculum, applied field experiences, and professional development activities integrate clinical psychology with an in-depth analysis of organizational and business systems.
Masters and PhD Combined Programs in Law
For students who want to combine interests in law with a firmer grasp of policy and politics, there are several options to consider, such as the programs and sponsored listings below.
#6: Juris Doctor (JD) / MA in International Affairs
The combined masters and doctorate program exposes international law enthusiasts to political, historical, and economic classes relevant to a career in international practice. At American University, students could pair a JD/MA in International Affairs.
#7: Juris Doctor (JD) / Master of Public Policy (MPP)
Connect analytic thinking with an understanding of legal systems in a joint JD / MPP. Students examine how to craft legislation and assess public policy while they analyze legal practices that further (and prevent) policy implementation.
One of these programs is the JD / MPP program at the University of Southern California, which allows students to blend the analytical skills of public policy and an understanding of legal institutions and processes.
#8: Juris Doctor (JD) / Master of Education (MEd)
Dual masters and PhD programs in Education could bridge courses in constitutional law with organizational theory. Students analyze theories, techniques, and methods of comparative and international education while they study civil procedure, contracts, and legal analysis.
Penn State University Law (PSL) and the Higher Education (HI ED) Program offer a joint degree program where you could earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) and a Master of Education (MEd) in Higher Education.
Joint Masters and Doctorate Degrees in Health
Some universities offer client-centered health and medicine programs with other degrees that may round out the curriculum. These programs are usually intensive and include some type of clinical practice as well as coursework.
In addition, the time it takes to earn these degrees vary depending on a number of factors, so be sure to check with a number of programs to find the option that’s perfect for you.
Check out some of the most common programs below and some of the sponsored schools that offer them.
#9: Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM) / Master of Public Health (MPH)
These programs offer dental students the opportunity to work towards a dual DDM/MPH, such as the Doctor of Dental Medicine and Master of Public Health program at NYU.
In their MPH courses, dental content is seamlessly integrated into the core through topics such as biostatistics for dental research and financing dental care.
#10: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) – DNP
Licensed RNs might consider doubling up on nursing degrees through a BSN to DNP pathway.
Many schools offer a BSN – DNP which rolls the MSN into the doctor of nursing practice degree.
Typically, these programs usually take three to four years for full-time students, depending on the program and concentration you choose, as the curriculum combine nursing courses and practicum along the way to advanced practice nursing.
Schools like Farleigh Dickinson University offers a BSN to DNP pathway with a choice of tracks such as clinical leadership and organizational leadership.
Interested in these programs? Check out some of the other nursing bridge programs!
#11: Medical Doctor (MD) / PhD
Research-oriented medical students could pursue a physician and scientist pathway via the MD/PhD program offered at Loyola University of Chicago. Candidates are not formally admitted to the PhD program until they have completed all of the preclinical subjects of the medical curriculum and Part I of the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE).
#12: Master of Social Work (MSW) / PhD
For those who want to research and enhance their social work clinical skills, check out Boston College for a joint MSW and PhD in Social Work.
Another option is Widener’s joint MSW/PhD in human sexuality which strives to prepare professional social workers to pursue career avenues such as teaching, consulting, conducting research, and providing counsel and therapy in a variety of settings on complex issues of human sexuality.
clinical psychology masters and PhD programs
What are Clinical Psychology Graduate Programs ?
Clinical psychology graduate programs help students prepare for research or clinical career paths. This branch of psychology focuses on treating mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders.
In order to become a Clinical Psychologist, students must first earn a graduate degree, either a Masters or Doctorate, in some form of clinical psychology.
Clinical psychology programs feature core coursework and often emphasize research. They may also feature supervised clinical practice and internships.
What Can You Do With A Clinical Psychology Degree ?
Clinical psychology programs at each degree level might lead to different career paths. A Clinical Psychology Master’s program may help students prepare for psychologist roles that don’t call for a doctorate. These could include:
- School Psychologist
- Industrial-Organizational Psychologist
- Psychological Assistants (Clinical, Counseling, or Research)
A Master’s program could also prepare students for counseling career paths, including Mental Health Counselor. Mental Health Counselor roles are projected to grow 23% by 2026. For other roles in the field of psychology, you may need to earn a doctorate degree. Clinical psychology PhD programs could help you prepare for roles like:
- Clinical Psychologist
- Counseling Psychologist
- Research Psychologist
Psychologist roles are projected to grow 14% by 2026, faster than average for all occupations.
Do You Need a Graduate Degree in Psychology?
Most psychology career paths call for at least a Master’s degree. And, career paths like Clinical Psychologist require a PhD or Psy.D. The education you’ll need also depends on your state’s licensure requirements. You’ll generally need to earn a Master’s degree for Mental Health Counselor licensure and a doctorate for Clinical Psychologist licensure. You may also need to complete an internship and/or supervised clinical experience. Many clinical psychology graduate programs include these kinds of preparation.
What Does A Clinical Psychologist Do?
Clinical Psychologists assess and treat disorders related to mental and behavioral health. They may give diagnostic tests, provide psychotherapy, and devise behavior modification programs. Some Clinical Psychologists treat specific populations – like children or the elderly. They could work in places like:
- Ambulatory healthcare services
- Private practice
Graduates with a degree in clinical psychology could also pursue counseling career paths. Mental Health Counselors provide some of the same services as Clinical Psychologists. For instance, they help treat issues like anxiety, depression, and stress.
Clinical Psychologist Salary
|Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||$81,330||108,060|
|Psychologists, All Other||$93,440||12,880|
|Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors||$46,560||241,930|
|Counselors, All Other||$47,600||27,150|
Top States for Employment: Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists
|State||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists work in many industries. These range from home health services to private businesses. Industries that employ the most professionals in this field include:
- Elementary and Secondary Schools
- Offices of Health Practitioners
- Individual and Family Services
- Outpatient Care Centers
- General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
Popular Clinical Psychology Graduate Degrees
Clinical Psychology degrees are reported by the National Center for Education Statistics under the category of Psychology. By the most recent data (2013), 4,835 Clinical Psychology degrees were awarded to U.S. graduate students. A slight majority (51%) of these programs were at the Master’s level.
Masters in Clinical Psychology vs Ph.D in Clinical Psychology?
A Master’s in Clinical Psychology program could help you prepare for certain psychology career paths. Or, it could serve as a stepping stone to doctoral study. This program delves into the theory of psychology, plus techniques for clinical practice. You could also choose a concentration, like counseling, addiction, or gerontology. Clinical psychology Master’s programs may emphasize research, supervised clinical experience, or both. You’ll often need to complete a Master’s thesis, along with practicums and/or internships. Clinical psychology PhD programs dive deeper into the field. These doctoral programs are research-intensive but usually include both theory and applied practice. Expect to study skill areas like assessment, intervention, and psychotherapy. Practicums and internships may help candidates prepare for practitioner roles. Some students earn a Master’s and then pursue a PhD later – or never. In dual Master’s/PhD programs, candidates enroll with a Bachelor’s degree. In these programs, you could pursue a Master’s on the way to earning your PhD in Clinical Psychology.
|Clinical Psychology Graduate Degree Guide|
|Master’s in Psychology||Ph.D in Psychology|
|M.S. in Clinical Psychology||PhD in Clinical Psychology|
|Length of Program: 37 to 67 units||Length of Program: 105 to 108 credits|
|The MSCP program explore aspects of human behavior, ranging from the social to the neurobiological. Concentrations like Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) could help students target their career goals.||The PhD is designed to help prepare students for goals in professional practice. It focuses on clinical skill areas like psychotherapy. The program features internship and practicum experiences.|
|Lifespan DevelopmentCognitive Behavioral TherapyPsychopathologyNeurophysiology and Psychopharmacology||Developmental PsychologyThe Psychology of Multiculturalism in North AmericaPersonality AssessmentClinical Psychopharmacology|
|No specific program accreditations||No specific program accreditations|
What Courses Are Needed for a Psychology Graduate Degree?
Coursework in clinical psychology graduate programs covers human behavior, personality, intervention, and more. Some courses focus on typical behavior and development. Others cover psychopathology and how to treat patients with mental health challenges. You could also take courses in professional ethics, standards, and laws. And, students who choose a concentration pursue specific courses in that area. For example, you could delve into neuroscience or forensic psychology. Some common courses in Clinical Psychology programs include:
- Social Psychology
- Personality Disorders
- Research Methods
- Child Psychopathology & Treatment
- Health Psychology
- Human Sexuality
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Problem Solving & Creativity
What Classes Will I Take?
Your classes may consist of core courses in psychology, plus electives and coursework within your concentration. You could take classes like:
- Multicultural Perspectives in Psychology. Cultural identity influences beliefs, behavior, and mental health. This course could help you prepare to work with patients from diverse backgrounds.
- Health Psychology. This course explores the role of psychologists in medical settings. For example, you could study sleep disorders, behavioral medicine, and biofeedback.
- Professional Ethics and Law. Mental health professionals often deal with sensitive situations. This course covers topics like patient confidentiality, reporting of abuse, and professional behavior.
- Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. This course discusses the theory and practice of psychotherapy. You could take a look at Freudian and Jungian models, among others. And, you’ll study contemporary, evidence-based techniques.
- Personality Theory. This course delves into what makes individuals unique. You could explore motivations, emotions, self-concept, and how personality changes over time.
What Should I Know About Accreditation in Clinical Psychology?
You may need to graduate from an accredited clinical psychology program to pursue licensure in your state. (Check with your state board to learn more.) Most accrediting organizations evaluate a program’s curriculum, adherence to industry standards, and improvement over time. So, accreditation can help you make sure you are pursuing a high-quality program. Several organizations accredit programs in clinical psychology or clinical mental health counseling. These include:
- American Psychological Association (APA). APA accredits doctoral psychology programs in Clinical Psychology and other areas. They also accredit doctoral internships and residencies.
- Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC). MPCAC accredits Master’s programs in counseling and psychology.
- Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS). PCSAS accredits PhD programs that use a clinical science training model.
- Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). CACREP accredits certain graduate counseling programs. These include Master’s programs in clinical mental health counseling.
How Long is Graduate School for Clinical Psychology?
Earning Master’s degree in clinical psychology may take about two years, or longer. Earning a PhD in clinical psychology could take four to six years.
|University||# of Credits Required||Starts Per Year||Minimum Months to Complete|
|Grace College and Theological Seminary||60||3||24|
|The Chicago School of Professional Psychology||60||Multiple||36|
|Wake Forest University||60||2||36|
How Much Does Graduate School Cost for Clinical Psychology?
The average cost of earning a graduate degree from a public institution is $11,617 per year. So, you might find programs both more affordable and more expensive than the average. Below, note the graduate tuition costs of four institutions with Clinical Psychology Graduate Programs as reported by NCES. We compared those costs to the typically most affordable and most expensive college options, also reported by NCES.$9,800 University of Western States$11,617 Average Public Institution University$14,784 Average Private For Profit Institution Tuition$15,039 Vanguard University$18,594 Loyola University – Chicago$26,080 Loma Linda University$26,551 Average Private Nonprofit Institution Tuitionsponsored
What are the Costs per Credit for Masters and PhD in Clinical Psychology?
Cost per credit is different for each college or university. State universities may have in state-costs vs. out-of-state costs. Below are a few examples of cost per credit as reported by institutions that offer clinical psychology programs.
|University||# of Credits Required||Cost Per Credit||Tuition Cost|
|University||# of Credits Required||Cost Per Credit||Total Tuition Cost|
|The Chicago School of Professional Psychology||60||$1164||$69,840|
|State||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
Schools with Clinical Psychology Graduate Programs: Masters & PhD Degrees
Dual Masters and PsyD Admissions Requirements
Being admitted for joint studies may require applying to both the master’s program and the doctoral program. To determine whether you’re a good candidate for the rigor of combined studies, there may be specific application requirements:
- Bachelor’s degree, preferably with a psychology major or prerequisite courses
- Criminal background check
- Essay about your interest in earning two degrees
- Interview with faculty members
In addition, you’ll submit standard application materials, such as transcripts, professional references, a resume, and, in some cases, GRE or GMAT scores.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
With a combined degree program, you may save somewhat compared to the cost of completing two separate degrees. If you qualify, financial aid can help as well. As a first step to exploring financial assistance, you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Government assistance can be available through state or federal programs. Graduate students are most likely to receive loans. Grants may be offered in select circumstances. Scholarships and fellowships through the college or outside organizations can also cover a portion of the cost. Some are renewable for multiple years.
Many colleges waive doctoral students’ tuition and provide stipends in exchange for work. Teaching undergraduate classes is a common assignment, but some doctoral candidates may serve as research assistants. If you maintain a full-time job while earning your degrees, you can also check to see if your employer offers tuition reimbursement.
Psychology Careers & Salaries
Psychology is a diverse profession. Many psychologists practice as clinical or counseling psychologists. They may help people who have mental health disorders, behavioral disorders, or relationship problems.
Licensure is typically required before using the “psychologist” title and practicing independently. Marriage and family therapy and substance abuse counseling are related professions. Your state may require getting separate licenses before offering those services.
Some psychologists work in schools to support students who have emotional or behavioral disorders. They can also develop intervention plans to help struggling students succeed in the classroom.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for psychologists is $82,180.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Psychologists, All Other||$105,780|
|Social Scientists and Related Workers||$87,260|
|Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||$79,820|
|Postsecondary Psychology Teachers||$78,180|
|Training and Development Specialists||$62,700|
|Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists||$55,690|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||$51,340|
|Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors||$47,660|
Salaries with a combined PsyD can vary greatly. Your personal earnings may depend on your experience and the cost of living in your community.
Studying both business and psychology can be helpful preparation for a career as an industrial-organizational psychologist. An I-O psychologist may work in-house for a company or serve as an independent consultant. Working in employee training and development could be another option for I-O professionals.
A background in criminal justice may lead to a career in law enforcement or the court systems. Some psychologists testify in court as expert witnesses. Others coordinate treatment plans for correctional facility inmates.
In addition to working as practitioners, psychologists can also have careers in research and academia. Some are psychology professors. Others work as social scientists or gather data as survey researchers.
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